Jerome G. Morse, Robert ZinkeColorado School of MinesGolden, Colo. Radiometric mapping as a petroleum exploration tool began some seven decades ago.1 The results reported have predominantly been positive. Nevertheless, the method lacks broad acceptance, due in part to insufficient understanding of its technical basis. In this article, we address the geochemistry and physics that underlie radiometrics. The authors and others have observed repeatedly that the anomalously low radiation flux detected over petroleum basins correlates with existing subsurface hydrocarbon accumulations. (Sources are cited later in the text.) ...

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